In what is seen as a major diplomatic game unfolding in the Eastern Mediterranean, the fate of the Cyprus issue remains at the forefront.
An important step is the informal five-day meeting on the Cyprus issue that will take place in early March. It remains unclear if the 62nd round of exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey will take place before this meeting.
Turkey appears relatively willing for this round to take place before the summer to make progress in Greek-Turkish relations. However, Ankara remains particularly tough on the Cyprus issue, where it seeks a two-state solution rather than a bi-communal federation that has formed the basis of negotiations for more than 40 years.
Last week, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab received his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in London, talked with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and traveled to Cyprus where he met both with Cypriot government officials and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.
Judging from the statements made by Raab regarding “flexibility” and the messages that Nicosia has received from European partners and the international community in general, it appears clear that all options are on the table, even if everyone is committed in principle to the solution of the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
Essentially, the informal summit in March will decide whether there is room for a formal conference that could lead to a solution.
Apart from the Cyprus issue, Raab’s statements also emphasized London’s willingness to mediate, if requested, between Athens and Ankara.